Are you thinking of hiring an interior designer, but aren’t sure how to find the right one? Most people begin the process of finding the right interior designer for them by seeking out local designers in their area, then by narrowing down which fits their style, then further refining their list by budget, and sometimes by the designer’s unique process. Now that many designers offer distance design (KPD isn’t currently offering this service) as part of their services, some choose to seek out designers whose work they’ve been following on social media and style they admire from afar.
How to Find the Right Interior Designer in Your Area
The first and most obvious way to find an interior designer that serves your area is to turn to Google. Read client reviews, take a look at their portfolios and social media, and start a list of interior designers whose work catches your eye. Next, turn to Instagram (many clients find me here!) Search by location-based hashtags, I often use #BellevueInteriorDesigner and #SeattleInteriorDesign to get my work seen by local eyes. I also get a lot of work from referrals, so be sure to ask your friends and family for their recommendations, too!
How to Find an Interior Designer Who Matches Your Style
When it comes to style, what speaks to you? Style is more about the feeling you get from the space and the items that fill it than checking off a box of characteristics. Are you drawn to designs that are light and airy, dark and moody, or with elements of both? Do you lean more modern, traditional, or a mix? What is your eye attracted to?
Now, how do you find someone who will respect your style? All interior designers will take into mind your needs and the functions you’d like each space to have. They’re going to take your vision and put it into a unique design for you, which comes from their design viewpoint and expertise—this usually lends itself to a certain design style.
A lot of people aren’t able to articulate what they like because they either aren’t familiar with the name of the style or aren’t sure quite how to describe it. Others know which specific style they gravitate towards with the Pinterest boards to match. Either way, your designer will be able to work with you and pull elements of what you want into their overall vision for your home.
Defining Your Interior Design Budget
The budget for your interior design project becomes clear once you meet with the designer. Many will offer a discovery call where you can talk about the questions you have, but most often you’ll get to the bottom of the budget/process they need at the first in-person design meeting. Designers either charge hourly or with a flat rate. Some charge prices per square foot or a percentage of the overall construction budget.
It’s very important to have a clear idea of the amount of money you’re comfortable spending on the project, as that guides the proposal your designer will give you. If the designer charges hourly, they’ll give you a range but it could change per month based on how efficient they’re working. If they charge by price per square foot it’s usually cut and dry— you’ll be quoted up-front. This number could be higher than hourly designers because they have to factor in contingencies, delays, and protect their time. You’ll have to decide if the investment in the designer is aligned with the investment in your home.
What to Budget for Living Room Furniture + Decor
Choosing an Interior Designer – Their Process
If they’re a good designer, they have a clear-cut process and a series of steps that each project takes. For example, KPD has a four-phase interior design process that every single project we take on follows. Here’s an outline of our process:
Phase 1 – Initial Design Meeting and Proposal for Services
Phase 2 – Schematic Design, Design Development, Measurements
Phase 3 – Ordering and Construction
Phase 4 – Installation
You’ll want to find an interior designer who has a clear process because it keeps projects organized, eliminates the guesswork of what’s coming up next, and shows you what to expect. It allows your designer to complete your project in a transparent way and results in a much better end result. If a designer does not talk about their specific project process, that would be a red flag.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring an Interior Designer
- Are their drawings clean and professional?
- Are their proposals clear?
- Is their purchasing process organized and efficient? Who takes care of what? At KPD, we take care of all purchasing, so that our clients don’t have to worry about issues that can arise from delays, etc.
- How often will we be meeting? For construction and ordering in phase 3, we meet weekly or biweekly for site visits. If there is no construction we check in weekly with status updates and any new information and a look at the week ahead.
Do’s and Don’ts for Working With an Interior Designer
- Don’t text your designer products to see if they like them – it creates a ripple effect for having to make other design choices. Designers pick things for specific reasons and make choices ensuring everything is cohesive. When we make selections we always keep in mind what might affect, size, scale color, and the overall vibe.
- Don’t have a scope of work for one area and inquire about areas outside of it.
- Do keep an open mind and follow the designer’s lead.
- Do try to avoid making decor and furnishing purchases during the design process.
- Do allow all design decisions to be run past the designer. If your contractor asks what to do in X space, involve your designer in the decision. Set up an effective line of communication between the designer and contractor but avoid trying to be a liaison between them. The best-run projects happen when there is a great line of communication. Make sure to hire a contractor who values and appreciates having a designer on the project.